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Oneplus Two Review

After waiting far too long for my invite to order the Oneplus Two, I finally woke up one morning to see an invitation email in my inbox, and immediately started debating whether or not it would be worth it to ditch my Oneplus One in favor of the newer model. Considering the simple fact that the Oneplus Two is significantly more expensive than the One, I naturally expected it to be a significantly more powerful device. Although I am satisfied with the phone, I do assert that, in its current state, it is not as powerful as the Oneplus One, and the new “OxygenOS” is far too simplistic compared to the extremely-customizable and hacker-friendly Cyanogenmod OS that was pre-installed on my Oneplus One.


In terms of raw performance, the Oneplus Two is an awesome smartphone. Apps load instantly, games never lag, the speakers are extremely loud and clear, the camera takes gorgeous photos, and the new USB-C charger both charges very quickly and allows for absurdly high data throughput. Many people would be perfectly pleased with the phone as it is, but I am not certain it is worth paying more than 100$ (including shipping), when the Oneplus One is almost as a good in every single category.


Antutu doesn’t lie. Immediately after turning the phone on and making sure it was fully updated, I installed 64-bit Antutu and ran some benchmarks. Right off the bat, my Antutu score was 44279, which is nearly 4000 points lower than the 48345 that my OnePlus One scored. Is this a massive difference? Is it obviously detectable in normal use? Of course not. But the fact that this device has worse battery life and worse overall benchmark scores really bothers me.


Battery life on the Oneplus Two is somewhere around 12-16 hours idle, or 4-6 hours of nonstop intense applications. This is a bit depressing considering how happy I was with the battery life of the Oneplus One… But–it is true that allowing root access and installing Greenify may double the maximum amount of idle time. I would have expected this device’s OS to have significant battery life management options, but alas, there are almost none. Even getting to battery-saver mode is obnoxious as it is only accessible through the options rather than through a dropdown or shortcut. Although the Oneplus Two has a slightly larger battery–3300mAh vs. 3100mAh–my old Oneplus One was much more efficient and, with any premium “upgrade,” it is very frustrating to realize that the older model was better.


I cannot say enough good things about the camera on the Oneplus Two. It has better autofocus capabilities than any other phone I’ve seen, and it has many interesting features such as slo-motion video, integrated instant-gif-making, etc. The flashlight LEDs are quite bright as well, and, in tandem with magnifier apps, the Oneplus Two makes a wonderful digital magnifier. Even with the standard camera app, tiny objects can be magnified and captured in gorgeous high-resolution photos.


One of the most obnoxious and, honestly, infuriating aspects of my upgrade to the Oneplus Two was the fact that my SIM card (the same one I just removed from my Oneplus One) is completely incompatible without modification. The One uses MicroSIM, the smaller version of the original SIM card, and the Two uses NanoSIM, the newest and tiniest SIM card variety. This incompatibility can be overcome by simply using a premade .pdf guide and cutting your own MicroSIM very carefully to create a NanoSIM card… Although this does work, it is not for the faint of heart or those that couldn’t also work part-time as a 3rd class brain surgeon. If you’re worried, take your SIM card and have it transferred by a professional. Honestly–Oneplus should have made this more apparent–and, since they already knew I had purchased the Oneplus One just months before, it would have been nice to receive a warning that my  MicroSIM would be incompatible with the new phone.


The fingerprint scanner is a wonderful addition to the Oneplus Two smartphone. I love the simplicity of not having to type in a code, but also the security as well. I know that these scanners are easy to spoof by someone that knows what they’re doing, but I’m not really all too concerned, and I am confident that the fingerprint lock is more than secure enough for my needs. The scanner is very fast and can take a reading from many different angles. I’m impressed with how intelligent the scanner is.


Perhaps my biggest gripe with this phone is the abysmal OxygenOS. Although it looks pretty in some places, it adds zero functionality and only subtracts from the massive amount of features that Cyanogenmod boasted. Simple things, like modifying the dropdown drawer, are not available at all. Even the Android (stock?) clock widget with weather is nowhere to be found; the only included digital clock has no weather option. There are no performance profiles, and even auto-brightness is missing. There are so many missing features that I’ve enjoyed on Cyanogenmod OSs for years that it is really upsetting… I’ve read online that there are Xposed frameworks that can return this functionality and unhide certain options, but I really don’t think that should be mandatory on a device like this. Why hide options like this when the majority of your customers are tech-minded folks?


It’s easy to find things to complain about when you’ve been let down, but with all honesty–if I had not already used the Oneplus One, I would be really impressed with the Oneplus Two. I genuinely hope that in the future the Oneplus team will continue to modify and provide substantial updates to their OxygenOS. I want to see more customizability and  performance options; they know that many customers aren’t fully satisfied with the battery life… Perhaps they will be able to provide solutions in time, and I will certainly update my review when they do! I see this phone being wondeful for the future of smartphone VR, and I will be playing with TrinusVR and other programs in the near future and comparing that with my experiences with the Oneplus One. The USB-C cable, for example, should mitigate lag and allow for a much better experience in USB-bottlenecked streaming applications like TrinusVR.


If you’re in the market for a new smartphone, I do recommend the Oneplus Two if you are interested in the cutting edge and are willing to pay a pretty penny. Features like the fingerprint scanner and superior camera are unique (at this price) to this phone. However, if you can settle on just having a powerful device and not every bell and whistle, then the Oneplus One would be my recommendation. For a case, I highly recommend the TUDIA Ultra Tough Ominix Case, it is very durable and appears to be thicker than the current Otterbox cases. I also recommend investing in a long and flexible USB-C cable, especially if you are interested in VR.


Comments or questions? Post below!

OnePlus One Review

My first smartphone was an AT&T Galaxy S3. I had it for a few years, and really wore it out. It was a great phone, but even though I replaced the Android ROM with a custom version of Cyanogen mod, I certainly did decline over the last six months of use. For example, the battery would only last a few hours, and no amount of tweaking could make it any better. Even replacing the battery made no difference at all. I was always upset that we had to pay $200 for a phone that was already years old–and that even if I wanted, I could not switch to a different service provider without unlocking the device forcefully. As the S3 grew older, I lost patience and sought out a new phone: The OnePlus One.


So a few months ago I finally received my OnePlus One–the new challenger to a congested line of flagship smartphones. In a market so filled with competition, you would expect the manufacturers to constantly try to overpower and undercut one another–but for many reasons they are all able to survive when charging exorbitant amounts of money for the top-tier phones. Chinese manufacturer OnePlus seeks to gain a strong foothold in the market by using a unique invite system to closely match production with demand, and by saving money wherever possible while still maintaining a quality device.


I had my doubts at first, but now I am most certainly forever going to support OnePlus–as the OPO is the best and most affordable smartphone device that I have ever used. Even the packaging that the phone came in was outstanding, and completely pumped me up for when I finally unveiled the phone and plugged it in to charge. The box, the charger, and all default-themed accessories have this wonderful red-black-white color scheme that is both unique and eye-catching. The back of the phone is not slick, but rather has a slip-resistant matte black coating. The navigation and home buttons are all digital on the long 1080p screen, and on the sides of the phone there are just a few buttons for volume control and power on/off. The SIM card fits into a compartment on the side, rather than behind the battery, and the only speakers are the loudspeakers at the bottom of the phone, and the small phone receiver speaker at the top.


I am not going to go into detail about the phone’s performance, but it blows my S3 out of the water. There is absolutely no competition. Everything loads instantly, even games that have long loading screens on my friend’s phones. The 1080p screen is gorgeous and high-resolution photos taken with the camera are jaw-dropping. The camera can even take 720p slow motion video at 120fps, and apparently, if you use the camera app provided by OnePlus, you can use their special algorithms to digitally enhance the quality of your photos even more.


The specs are available on the OnePlus One store page (https://oneplus.net/oneplus-one) and I won’t reiterate them. But, let me admit that although I was at first upset about the lack of MicroSD slot, I now understand that 64GB is PLENTY–even for someone who downloads everything and takes countless pictures. Just make sure to delete old things every once and a while, and the 64GB will last forever. After just recently updating to Android 5.1.1, I used Antutu to benchmark the phone and I scored 48345 points overall. This ranks the OnePlus next to phones that cost $500-$700+, with the exception of the OnePlus Two–which, although may offer more bang for the buck, is still having lots of trouble being shipped out en masse… Otherwise, I might already have ordered one for myself.


Currently, my battery life is quite good. The phone is only a few months old and the battery life should stay strong and consistent for a while. If left completely idle, on power-saving mode, the phone may last as long as 30-40 hours. If it is being used regularly for phone, text, and internet, the battery life drops to 24 hours at best. If gaming non-stop, the battery life is likely no better than 6-8 hours. I do use Greenify and a few other apps to attempt to extend my battery life, but in the end I cannot complain about these hours, as my old S3 was only lasting 6 hours when completely idle.


Lastly, my OnePlus One came pre-loaded with Cyanogenmod OS. This is a custom version of Android that has many features and is entirely configurable to meet your needs. Many features, such as high-contrast text, LiveDisplay (which alters brightness and contrast based on time of day), and Sunlight-Adaptive Brightness are extremely helpful and really make this phone standout as having a clear, crisp picture that is easy to read in all environments. I also love how easy it is to change performance modes based on my needs; if I am going to play a game, I enable Performance mode and the processor works at full capacity to render the game, but if I am going to need the battery to be saved, I can enable Power-Saver Mode, which will underclock the processor and increase battery life.


All things considered, this is a phone that I expect to last a long time, and so far I am absolutely pleased with what it has to offer. I was hard-pressed to find complaints for this device, and many of the complaints that I could scrounge up are fixed or changed in the new OnePlus Two. Considering this device sells for nearly half of what the competition is going for, although it may lack some minor features, it stands out as the best value smartphone in the market. If you’re in the market for a smartphone that costs $150-250, you should save your money and buy the OnePlus One. If you’re in the market for a smartphone that costs well over $300, you should seriously consider saving your money and going with the OnePlus One. Use the extra money to buy yourself some good accessories, and especially, a good case. I use the TUDIA ULTRA OMINIX Case and it is really quite good for the money. I am sure that the OtterBox models are also fantastic, but at the time I bought my phone, there actually was not a single OtterBox available.


Comments or questions? Post below!